History professor heads to Philly next year for research fellowship

Bruce Moran is selected as Gordon Cain Distinguished Fellow

10/16/2013 | By: Abbie Walker  |

Professor Bruce Moran, with the Department of History at the University of Nevada, Reno, will be packing his bags next year to spend the 2014 fall term in Philadelphia, Pa., for a unique research opportunity.

Moran was selected to be the Gordon Cain Distinguished Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in recognition of his research accomplishments within the field of the history of science/chemistry. He will reside in Philadelphia until December 2014, and his work will focus on the history of science and early medicine, where much of his research has to do with the role of alchemy (a form of chemistry and metaphysical philosophy) and the practical uses of alchemy in the early modern era.

"This is an unexpected award," Moran said. "I am excited to have received this distinguished fellowship, and to carry the flag of the University during my research travels."

Moran said the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania have very good collections of work related to early chemistry, and while there, he will focus upon the books of Leonhard Thurneisser, an alchemist who practiced at the Brandenburg court in Berlin at the end of the 16th century. 

In Philadelphia, Moran will have access to major research facilities while mentoring younger colleagues in their post-doctorate research at both Chemical Heritage Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania.  He will take part in academic symposia and colloquia at the Chemical Heritage Foundation where he will present his research, which will be available online and in film.

"Apparently, lightening does strike twice in the same place," said Moran, who received another unexpected fellowship in 2010, being named Dibner Distinguished Fellow in the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library in Southern California.

Moran's primary areas of study are the history of science, early medicine, European cultural and intellectual history.

"His research is meticulous, innovative and highly nuanced," Linda Curcio, chair for the University of Nevada, Reno Department of History, said. "His work has had a profound impact on the way in which historians analyze the relationship between alchemy, chemistry and the emergence of science in the pre-enlightenment period. Such a career is indeed impressive and deserving of acclaim."

Moran has published six books, more than 30 articles and presented innumerable conference papers. In continuation, he has been a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Kassel, Germany; a guest professor at the Institute for the History of Pharmacy in Marburg, Germany; a visiting scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University in England; an honorary research associate at the Welcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine in London, and a distinguished visiting faculty member at Harvard University.  

Moran joined the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1976. He was selected as a University Foundation Professor in 1993 and was named the University's Outstanding Researcher in 2009.

"We are thrilled that Professor Moran has once again been awarded a distinguished fellowship," Heather Hardy, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said, "His record of securing these highly competitive awards underscores his national stature as a scholar."

The Chemical Heritage Foundation is a collections-based nonprofit organization that preserves the history and heritage of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences and technologies. The collections are used to create a body of original scholarship that illuminates chemistry's role in shaping society.


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